Interviews: Audio & Video

On February 16, 2009 Tim O’Shea via e-mail interviewed Carol Lay. The interview named “Talking Comics with Tim”. In the interview, one of things they talked about was Carol’s idea of writing about her self on weight loss journey and the challenges she faced. Tim also asked questions such as how much did The Big Skinny influenced comic book and memoir genre. Tim also asked about her future plans and she is doing to be doing. On November 2, 2004, Jason Mallory interviewed Carol Lay where Jason asked many questions like what is something you would people to know you about? When was the last time you yelled really loud in public? The Interview was titled “Way Lay”. Carol also did a six minutes video interview with La Strips where she was asked to discuss about her inspiration, her work, and how she got into comics.

Reception and Reviews of Lay’s Work

Many have reviewed Carol’s work some criticising and some appreciating her work. Suite101.com is website storytelling website where people share things that they know. Carol’s memoir was reviewed in topic of losing weight, tells the story of Carol’s childhood and her weight issues. They try to take notes on how they can lose weight like Carol that’s why it was titled “How to lose weight by changing your life style”. They also said it was very inspiring. Carol memoir was also appreciated by seriouseat.com, a website is on a food blog focused on sharing food enthusiasm through online blogs which introduced a piece of her memoir on its website.

Media Appearances

Carol Lay made several media appearances over the years. The Big Skinny was featured on the cover of publishers weekly on October 27, 2008 where she said, “I am still proud of this”. On July 23, She was invited by Mark Evanier to be a guest sketcher on Quick Draw panel at the San Diego Comic Con. Carol Lay attended Google’s event on January 16, 2009 called “Authors@Google” where she talked about The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude for approx. 55minutes and answered some questions. In past, Carol Lay has also attended Burning Man. Burning Man is an art show held for week on a desert outdoor.

 

Plot

The plot of the Big Skinny follows Carol and how she struggled with weight.  Through her experience she eventually learns that counting calories and being healthy may seem hard to do at first, but that’s only because she wasn’t use to it.  She consistently refers to herself presently, and compares the old her to the new her.  Carol also refers to personal troubles she incurred along the way which hindered her weight loss.  She reviews her whole background and her family’s impact on her health and diet.  Carol provides insights into why losing weight by eating healthy and exercising is rewarding yet a challenge at the same time.

Here is a blog post on different insights on the journey of losing weight.  http://www.lifetime-weightloss.com/blog/2013/10/19/8-insights-into-the-emotional-journey-of-weight-loss.html

Characters

Carol – The protagonist of the graphic memoir that conquers her challenge of making a diet easy and sustainable there are two sides to Carol that show up throughout the book.  There is skinny happy Carol, and overweight unhappy Carol.  Skinny happy carol is happy not due to her weight, but he changes to focus on herself and having a healthy lifestyle.  Unhappy Carol is self-conscious and has a lack of control when it comes to food and motivation to exercise.

There are also several other small characters throughout the book:

Hostess – From “What’s it all about” – She questions how Carol lost all the weight

Ex-Husband – Isn’t spoken about much

Mother – Prepared “traditional” family food that wasn’t healthy.  She believed she was doing the best for Carol and got her on diet pills

Father – Had an alcohol problem and indulged in foods a lot – loved salt

Several personal trainers throughout the graphic memoir

Mini Carol – Acts as a continuous and keeps questioning her tedious diet habits by playing devil’s advocate

Derek – Carol’s roommate who is educated by Carol on the importance of nutrition after he ate too much

Jane – Carol’s friend who has an issue with eating crackers

Themes

The themes that reoccur in this are perseverance, self-actualization, and health.  The weight of th nation is a website dedicated to educating individuals on weight loss and its benefits.  Some of these themes listed are benefits of losing weight and can be soft skills that you develop from losing weight.  http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com/themes/weight-loss

Perseverance can be seen throughout the whole book.  Carol combines her dedication and need to feel good attitude to continue her healthy lifestyle no matter how hard it seems.  Eventually, due to her perseverance she finds that counting calories and eating healthy isn’t as hard as she thought.

Self-Actualization can be seen throughout the graphic memoir.  This is because the whole purpose of self-actualization is realizing your potential and what you are capable of.  In the graphic memoir Carol learns that being healthy and exercising is a part of her.  She loves feeling good and after years of trying to find a way to lose weight she did it, all be herself.

Health can be seen through the graphic memoir as it is a book on sharing insights and ideas of how to live a healthy lifestyle.  It covers calorie counting, temptations, balancing a diet with exercise and even has a small recipe section at the back.

Structure

The Big Skinny is organized into different sections based on the challenges Carol faced and the lessons she learned from them.  The memoir is shown graphically divided into sections based on events in her life.  She consistently refers to two personas; the healthy Carol, and the not healthy Carol.  She goes through each event in her life and analyzes them through her two personas.  Her unhealthy self, questions why she puts all of her effort into becoming healthy while her healthy-self educates her and inspires her.  David from the Huffington Post compares these two attitudes in everyday people.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/do-we-need-a-fattitude-ad_b_509572.html